Cannon, Joseph Gurney, 1836–1926, speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives (1903–11), b. Guilford co., N.C. A lawyer in Illinois, Cannon served as a Republican in Congress from 1873 to 1923, except for the years 1891–93 and 1913–15, when first the Populists and then the Progressives were able to defeat him. As speaker he carried the traditional power of his office to appoint all legislative committees to its ultimate arbitrary extremes, dictatorially ruling the House in the interest of his fellow “Old Guard” Republicans and suppressing minority groups. In Mar., 1910, insurgent Republicans, led by George W. Norris and supported by all the Democrats, passed a resolution that, by providing that the House itself should appoint the important Committee on Rules with the speaker ineligible for membership, broke Cannon's power.
See C. R. Atkinson, The Committee on Rules and the Overthrow of Speaker Cannon (1911); L. W. Busbey, Uncle Joe Cannon (1927, repr. 1971); B. Bolles, Tyrant from Illinois (1951, repr. 1974); W. R. Gwinn, Uncle Joe Cannon, Archfoe of Insurgency (1957).
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